Thursday, May 30, 2013

Went for a Run

After the workout on Monday I had a pain in my upper back. It was a very sharp point pain in between the shoulder blades on the left side, so nothing related to any problems I have had before. I decide to skip any kind of upper body work on Wednesday to avoid using it and let it heal. I went at lunch time to a nearby lake and ran 2.5 miles. It was hot, maybe 90 degrees, and the pollen was so thick you could just see it in the air. I completed the run in a average pace of 8:19 which is a bit on the slow side for me. The first 2:00 split was reported as something above 10:00 by mapmyrun and after that my splits were where I would expect. I never did make up for that slow start though. the back feels fine today so I guess the rest worked. I assume it was from the pull-ups although I did also do thrusters. I have a hockey game tonight so I might do a workout tomorrow evening but probably not in the morning.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

For the warm up today I did 25 jumping jacks followed by 3 rounds:
  • 10 wall ball shots (16/12)
  • 10 abmat it-ups
  • 10 PVC arm circles
This is the first time I have done wall ball shots since I started working out at home. I measures out back to see where 10' would be from the new patio and it is high enough that I would be hitting the siding on the house and I don't want to do that. It turns out the side of the deck is just about the right height, maybe a couple inches low but close enough so I used that as a target. The workout I chose for today is called "Daniel". Since today is Memorial day I decided to be sure to do a hero WOD. This one is named for SFC Daniel B. Crabtree who was killed in Iraq in 2006 when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb while on a combat patrol. The workout was the following for time:
  • 50 pull-ups
  • 400 meter run
  • 21 thrusters (95/65)
  • 800 meter run
  • 21 thrusters (95/65)
  • 400 meter run
  • 50 pull-ups
I completed the workout in 22:27 with a some modification. I dropped the weight to 78# due to a tight lower back today. I loaded up 98# and tried a couple but due to yesterdays running and burpees my back was feeling pretty tight so I decided to drop the weight and go for speed over weight to get the intensity today. 50 pull-ups is a shit ton of pull-ups in a row!! I did pretty well on the first 50 but was jumping by about half way through. The runs are nice in this one because they are almost like a break. I felt pretty good with the thrusters except at one point I got my hands out in front of me too much and almost fell over forward. That last 50 pull-ups is a bitch at the end of this one. I was doing them jumping with a slow negative but by the end I was still only able to knock out 2 at a time. I had done this workout last November, check it out here. My time was a good bit better this time around but it looks like I did it with 95# last time. I will have to give this one a shot with the prescribed weight some day when I did not do something as brutal the day before. Here is a video that shows the thrusters.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Not at Home

We are staying at the mother-in-laws for a bit this weekend so I did a bit of a road workout today. I typically do this one, or a variation, when I am on travel for work. The workout is a run with 50 burpees sandwiched in the middle. I typically do 1 mile on each side of the burpees but today I ran a total of 3 miles. I completed it in 28:37 according to mapmyrun. I had the voice on the app set to give me 2:00 split times and I know I was doing 7:30-7:45 splits on the first half. I stopped at 1.59 miles for the burpees and did them in 4 sets 15,15,10,10 with just a 5 second or so break in between. I started off slow on the back half with a first split time of maybe 9:00 I think but most of the splits reported by the app on the back half were about 8:00. Last time I did this, read about it here, I completed a 2 mile version in 19:50. That means that extra mile added something like 8:47 to the time. I think I can do better than that, I will have to try this one again. For a summary of the workout or the map you can look at the mapmyrun log here.

Friday, May 24, 2013

When You Get a Minute

I had to be in early today for a customer meeting so I waited until this evening to work out again. I started with a warm up of a 400 meter run followed by 3 rounds:

  • 10 jumping jacks
  • 10 abmat sit-ups
  • 10 PVC arm circles
Next was the workout which is 3 rounds:

  • 1 minute front squat (95/65)
  • 1 minute push-up
  • 1 minute kettlebell swing (53/35)
  • 1 minute air squats
  • 1 minute rest
Score is the total number of reps completed and there is no rack allowed on the front squat portion. The no rack restriction is meant, I think, to make you hold the bar for the full  minute since if you put it down you are doing so to the ground and that means you need to clean it back to position to continue. I put 98# on for the front squats, my bar weighs 28# not standard 44# so my numbers end up a little off from standard. I initially thought I might not be able to complete the workout at that weight but I made it through. I did 35# on the kettlebell swings as usual. I completed a total of 245 reps on this workout. I did 82 reps in round one, 88 in round two, and 75 in round three. I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing until that third round and I really hit a wall. I had to put the bar down once during the front squats on round 3 and the kettlebell a couple times. I feel pretty good about the workout though in general and I like the fact that it was 15:00 and you are out; you can do almost anything for 15:00.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Heavy Cleans, Well Not Really Heavy...

I got up this morning and started with a warm up of 100 jump rope singles followed by 3 rounds:

  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 sit-ups
  • 10 air squats
I was thinking as I was doing the jump ropes how much better I am at these than I used to be. I have not done much practice but I used to not be able to string together 20 singles without tripping. I know am more limited by my endurance than clumsiness. Progress I guess. Perhaps I should try some double unders sometime...

I then did 15 minutes of strength work consisting of a search for a 3 rep max on squat cleans. I had watched some videos last night on squat cleans, very detailed, and wanted to concentrate on my form and perhaps did not concentrate as much on going heavy. I am fine with that though. as I have mentioned before I have never been much of a fan of maxing anything.The video I watched can be seen here. Interestingly this video is from again faster, the same company I bought my gear from. I don't know who the instructor is but I am more impressed with these guys now that I have found their videos online than I was after they fixed my bumper plate issues. I guess I would say if you are buying gear I would really check these folks out, and no they are not paying me.

My squat clean numbers for 3 reps each time over the 15 minutes were 58#, 78#, 78#, 88#, 98#, 108# (Failed), 108# (2). I repeated the 78# set because the first time my form was wrong. I got my hands out in front of me as is talked about in the video and ended  up having to take a step forward to catch it so I decided to redo that weight and get the form right. On the first 108# attempt I flat out failed. On the second 108# attempt I hit the first but felt my back arch out at the bottom on the second and thought better of going for a third. I am clearly not fluid on the move and should continue to focus on form.

The next part of the workout was a 15:00 AMRAP

Infinity ladder (1, 2, 3, 4,...)

  • Hang power clean (115/75)
  • Toes-to-bar
*100 meter sprint between each round*

I set up 98# on the bar and did the workout with that. I have a bit of an issue with the 100 meter sprint in the middle since I work out in the basement. I have to run upstairs and out the garage to do the sprint so that slows me a bit. I completed up through 7 of the cleans and 1 toes-to-bar on the 7th round before the 15:00 ran out. I was again trying to focus on some of the form from the video, I still need some work on that.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hero WOD

I didn't get up to work out this morning. seems I am getting lazy about the morning workouts now that I have the gear at home. I did workout after work before dinner though. I warmed up with an 800 meter run and some stretching. Then I did Hansen. This WOD is named for Marine SSgt Daniel Hansen who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009 by an IED. You can read more about him here. The WOD is 5 rounds:

  • 30 kettlebell swings (53/35)
  • 30 burpees
  • 30 GHD sit-ups
I did 35# on the kettlebell as is my normal and I also did abmat sit-ups, partly because I don't have a GHD machine and also because I have been doing some reading about GHD sit-ups and am not going to do them ever again due to the back problems I have had in the past. I might talk more about that at some other time but not today. I completed this in 32:30, and it was pretty damn tough, burpees suck!! I did the first round in 5:00 and was shooting for 25:00 after that but I guess I slowed down as this one went on. I was very deliberate on the kettlebell swings concentrating on keeping my core really tight and it was obvious that it was working. My core is going to be sore tomorrow. It is nice to be able to adjust when I workout, that was one real problem with the gym. I do wish I had someone to compare my times against though so I can make sure I am pushing myself. I felt pretty ragged by the end of this one though so I think I did pretty well although 32:30 seems like a long time.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Friday Workout

I went to bed a little late Thursday night so decided to not get up early for the workout. I left work a little early and did the following before dinner. Warm up was 100 jump rope singles followed by 3 rounds:

  • 10 abmat sit-ups
  • 10 jumping jacks
  • 10 PVC arm circles
The workout was a 20:00 AMRAP Cindy. This means do as many rounds of the following as possible in 20:00:

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 air squats
I completed 13 rounds plus through 7 push-ups on the 14th round. I started doing some of the pull-ups jumping at some point, maybe halfway through. I would start off and do as many of the 5 as possible dead hang and then when I could not do the jump with a slow negative. I made it through the push-ups without stopping most of the way but maybe 2/3 through I would get to 6 or 7 and take 1-2 second break and jump right back in. I did all the air squats uninterrupted. I looked back and this is an improvement, slightly, over the last time I have this workout down which you can see here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Everyone is Looking for the Easy Way Out

I read an article in the NY Times today which you can have a look at here. The title of the article was "The Scientific 7-Minute Workout." The article attempts to describes another article that was published in the May-June issue of the American College of sports Medicine Health & Fitness Journal which you can find here. The NY Times article accurately describes the sample circuit that was described in the original article as well as the reason why the authors believe this is a good circuit that can allow you to get a substantial workout in in less time than some other more traditional workouts might allow. However, they also try to claim that the authors conclusion is that you only need to do 7-minutes of exercise:
Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.
If you take the time to go read the actual article this is directly contradicted when the authors state:
Because most individuals may not be able to execute the program at an intensity significantly greater than 100% of their V˙O2max, following the established ACSM guidelines for high-intensity exercise of at least 20 minutes is recommended. This may require multiple repetitions (or circuits) of a multistation exercise circuit.
How many of the people that read the NY Times article are actually going to go read the source material? I am going to guess almost none. So what does that mean? It means we have a conclusion by the author of the NY Times article (Gretchen Reynolds) that is likely to be taken by most that read that article as fact and it isn't even an accurate representation of the original work. This is either laziness, i.e. Gretchen never read the original article in it's entirety, or incompetence, i.e. Gretchen read the article but failed to understand what it said. Either way why is the NY Times publishing it?

The bottom line is there is no 7-minute workout that is going to solve all your problems folks. There never has been and there never will be. You need to commit to making a change and making the time to do the work if you want results. We all make time to brush our teeth and take a shower we should be making time to exercise now that we live in a largely sedentary world. If you are still living a hunter gatherer lifestyle or doing manual labor you might be able to skip the workouts. If you are like many of us though who work in an office you need to put in the work.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Skipped the Blog

I have not posted anything in a few days here so I guess I have a bit of catching up to do. I did a run last Thursday (look here for the stats). I did not get anything workouts done over the weekend. My wife was gone and I had the kids and it just never worked out right. On Monday I got up and did a warm up of 200 jump rope singles followed by 3 rounds:

  • 10 abmat sit-ups
  • 10 jumping jacks
  • 10 mountain climbers
This was followed up with 5 rounds for time of:

  • 10 man makers
  • 400 meter run
I completed this in 25:28 with 25# dumbbells. The man maker is sort of like a burpee except you do it with dumbbells. Drop to push-up position with the dumbbells in your hands, perform a push-up, right arm row, push-up, left arm row, feet between hands and stand, clean the dumbbells to shoulders and do a thruster to put the dumbbells overhead and that is one rep. I had done this before with 20# dumbbells in October of last year as you can see here.

This morning I got up and did a warm up of  a 400 meter run followed by 2 rounds:

  • 10 push-up
  • 10 pull-up
  • 10 PVC arm circles
The workout was a 20:00 AMRAP:

  • 10 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls (95/75)
  • 5 Overhead Squats (95/75)
  • 15 Deadlifts (95/75)
I can't do all of these with 95# so I set up 2 bars. I did the SDHP and OH Squats with 60# and the Deadlift with 95#. I could probably have done the SDHP with a bit more weight but not the OH Squats and I only have 2 bars so this seemed like the best approach. I got a great workout and completed 7 full rounds and up through 2 deadlifts on the eighth. I did 4 full rounds in the first 10:00 so I must have slowed a little on the second half.

I finally got all the bumper plate issues resolved. I ended up going back to Play It Again Sports where I had bought my bars and finding one that they all fit on and they exchanged it. So I now have 2 bars that all the bumper plates fit on but they are both only 28# and 6 feet not the 7 foot 443 ones I am used to using. I bought some light weights to make one 33#, the women's bar weight for my wife, and 44# for me. The folks at Again Faster have been very good about making things right. They sent out replacements the first go around and were going to send more when I had problems again but I got the new bar. I will say that I think the issue was a combination of both the bars and their bumper plates. The replacement plates had metal shavings on them and the customer service rep said they had the people at the factory try them on a bunch of bars before sending so I assume they had to adjust them. They also are not really all the same width. I noticed this because I made a rack for the weights and the new ones did not fit like the old. They did make it all right though so I think they will have my business next time I need some gear.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Workout on Tuesday Morning, Yeah!!

So this is one of the benefits of doing the workouts at home. I did not want to do one yesterday because I had done an afternoon workout on Sunday so I pushed it to Tuesday. It used to b, when going to the gym that I could not do this because their 0600 workouts were only available on Mon. Wed. and Fri. I can now do them whenever is convenient for me. There are a couple of issues. I have to figure out substitutions for exercises I don't have equipment for but so far that has been fine. I also don't really have anyone to compare my performance against. I was planning on looking at the times of my classmates from when I used to go to the gym but the gym has since updated their website and I can't see that information any longer.

So this morning I got up a little later for the workout, 0630. I was planning on going in to work a little late since I am staying late to go to a hockey game that is closer to work than home. I started with a warm up of 100 jumping jacks followed by 3 rounds:

  • 10 air squats
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 PVC arm circles
I also did a little bit of stretching but not much. The warm up is one of the problems with me doing my workouts at home, often there is not a warm up listed on the web site and I struggle a bit to come up with something. I am figuring it out though. The workout today was 2 rounds for time:

  • 400 meter run
  • 50 GHD hip extensions
  • 400 meter run
  • 50 overhead weighted abmat sit-ups (20/10)
  • 400 meter run
  • 25 knees-to-elbows
I modified a little bit. I did 10# on the sit-ups and the last few knees-to-elbows I did  power tower knee ups. I also had to figure out a way to do the hip extensions since I do not have a GHD machine. I put some weights on my weight bench to hold it down and put my feet under the bench while doing them on a stability ball something like this video. It was raining outside today which slowed me down a bit because I did not want to wear wet shoes in the house so I had to remove them and put them back on in between runs. I think I lost about a minute for each run except the first since I started with that one. I completed the workout in 32:16, felt like a good workout so I am happy.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rare Sunday Workout

I usually do a workout on Saturday but had a bunch of things yesterday so I did today's workout instead. I started with a warm up of 100 jump rope singles followed by 3 rounds:

  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 abmat sit-ups
I had just finished mowing the lawn when I started so the warm up might have been overkill but it was pretty short anyway. I also added in some stretching, mostly my back and hips. The workout was a 3 round for time:

  • 10 bear complex (95/65)
  • 12 pull-ups
  • 15 dips
I did the bear complex with 80# and by the end was doing 2 at a time, that is a crazy tough move. I did the pull-ups jumping but the dips I did normal. This is the first time in a long time I have done dips. I completed this workout in 19:52. Not sure if I will work out tomorrow morning or not since I did this one late today. I will probably wait to see what it is.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Workout and Update on Bumper Plates

I was able to get up a little later today to work out since I was going in to my daughters school for dads and donuts and coming in to work late. The warm up was 3 round:

  • 60 foot bear crawl
  • 10 air squats
  • 5 burpees
  • 10 jumping jacks
I think this is the first time I ever did bear crawls, interesting and tough. If you want to see them have a look at this video. I then moved on to the workout which was:

  • 200 meter run
  • 12 push jerks (155/105)
  • 30 walking lunges
  • 400 meter run
  • 9 push jerks (155/105)
  • 60 walking lunges
  • 800 meter run
  • 6 push jerks (155/105)
  • 90 walking lunges
I did the push jerks with something like 80#, should have done more but I did not really decide that until the end. I also am still having the issue with the bumper plates fitting the bars so that did not help, more on that later. I completed this in 16:04. The walking lunges were pretty damn brutal by the end of this one but overall it was not too bad, as I mentioned I think the weight was too low. I brought the bar in the garage and did this one outside instead of inside which helps speed up anything that involves running. If I need to run I have to go upstairs from the basement and outside to run.

I took the 2 new 10# bumper plates this morning to play it again sports to see if there were any bars there they would fit on. the 10# plates seem to have the smallest hole so I figured if I can't find a bar to fit them there is a real problem. They had 4 bars there and I was able to get one of the plates to fit one side of one of them. Neither would fit on any of the others. I sent an email to the customer service representative and they have put an order together with replacement plates for all those that do not fit. we shall see when they come in if they fit on my bars. At least they are trying to make it right, I thought for a while they were going to just say it is the bar.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Night Workout

It has been a while since I have done a workout in the evening but since we did not do one this morning I was kind of feeling like I wanted to tonight. We warmed up with 2 rounds:

  • 200 meter run
  • 15 plate hug squats (15/10)
  • 15 PVC arm circles
  • 30 jump rope singles
We then did the workout which was 3 rounds:

  • 30 squat cleans (95/65)
  • 30 pull-ups
  • 800 meter run
I completed this is 35:00 with 65# and did jumping pull-ups. Sarah did 2 half rounds in something like 40+. This is a hero WOD named Badger in honor of Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Mark Carter who was killed in Iraq on 11 December, 2007.

Still waiting on word on getting the bumper plates taken care of. Will let you know.

Tuesday Yoga

The MIL was staying at the house in the basement last night so I did not want to get up and work out down there at 0530 and wake her up. Instead I went to a 1 1/4 hour yoga class. It was very good and I think I will try to keep adding in some stretching and yoga on a regular basis. We might still do a workout tonight, I will let you know. This is one of the reasons doing this at home instead of the gym is appealing, if I can't get to the gym I am stuck but at home I can do the workout any time. I am still working with AgainFaster to try to get these bumper plates taken care of. They asked for pictures of all the plates that won't fit. I went home and set up both bars, we have a 6' and a 7' bar, and tried every plate on every position. Turns out that only the 15# plates fit everywhere. Some of the plates fit one bar and some neither but none fit all the positions. The customer service rep from AgainFaster is now asking if I have a way to measure the inside diameter of the plates. I am looking for some calipers but not having much luck. They also asked me what type of bars I have so I suspect they are thinking it is a problem with the bar not the plates. Seems to me that they are probably both off a bit since the 15# plates seem to fit no problem. My bars are both CAP bars which are not great but it seems that if they can ship some bumpers that fit they should be able to ship all bumpers that fit. alternatively, if this is a known issue they should let you know that on their site before you make the purchase, i.e. tell you they are not guaranteed to fit if you don't use their bar. The problem at this point is I can't use them. The bumpers also have a pretty strong rubber/chemical smell and they seem to leave a good bit of black on my hands when I handle them. I am not sure what that is about but not sure I like it.